Sunday, December 13, 2015

First Flight of Black Beauty

Readying the rocket.

November 21th, 2015 we headed to the FAR launch site - Friends of Amateur Rocketry - to make our first flight.  The rocket is a Sonic 3100 from US Rockets you can see the performance specs at their homepage.  We used the 29mm mount for our first flight and there will be more where evenutally we will try the 54mm motors too.

We had a little more work to do and you can see that as part of the previous post - click here if you missed it.  It was a very busy day at the Range with multiple rockets by several groups.

Finally we were ready and everyone headed to the bunkers.  See video below or Click here for the photo album to see the story in pictures and videos.

Spoiler alert in the next paragraph if you haven't watched the video:

The flight itself was good but with a less than graceful landing.  The first separation either occurred early or with too much force and the tail section fell separate from the main body and nose of the rocket and we had to go pick up the two separate sections.  You can see the recovery and the autopsy videos in the Flickr album.  The real casualty was Al, the triceranaut and the videos kept cutting off just as we would get to that part.  So we have to rebuild parts and then try again.  Current launch date, Dec. 19th.   Click here for the second flight.

Preparing for Launch

This summer it was time to stop watching the flights and get in on the action.  This was facilitated by US Rockets providing the components in exchange for our help on a larger project.  The goal is several flights with the Featheweight brand altimeter to deploy two chutes, record the flight and to record the performance of John Newman's rocket motors.

The bright pink fins, squares and nose are to improve visibility and to see when it is rotating around the long axis.  Davie took the lead on construction of the rocket and I took the lead on the altimeter.

Rocket Parts
I put the altimeter on a breadboard and used the Featherweight altimeter simulation program to be sure that we understood how to program the altimeter and that it would be firing the squibs on the simulations.  We had some trouble with the Raven 2 units so we swapped them out for the Raven 3's.  Between other obligations we finally assembled the Sonic 3100 rocket in November and set up for our first flight at the FAR rocket range, November 21st.

Click here for the photo albums and videos.

And Click here for the next post, the launch.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Another Day at FAR.

Rain from the Mountains

Another day on the amateur range.  We watched a couple static tests and a couple flights.  A static test means that the rocket is stationary, i.e. static - not static electricity. It is for testing engine performance before flight.

The static tests were from one of the FAR founders.  It was actually two tests of the same hybrid dedicated since the first test failed.  Click here for the videos, first test and the second test.
Student Rocket

A group of students from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, were there with three rockets. Two for testing and a large one, maybe 12 ft. long. The day was getting long so they only flew one of the test rockets.  The purpose of the flight was to test parachute deployment and only one of the parachutes opened.  They proceeded to fly the larger rocket anyway. It flew beautifully, click here for a short video of it, but neither chute opened and it experienced a hard landing.  We did not stay long enough to be the remains but while driving away we could see the students out in the desert brush.  They had the main chute opened in the wind and it looked fully intact so hopefully they have some salvageable pieces.

Earlier in the day one of the local rocketeers demonstrated how the different propellants burned with different colors depending on the ingredients.  I have a short video of one of the propellant scraps burning.  Click here for the complete photo album. 

The next step is to build our own.... already in progress.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Tablet for Blogging.

Overlooking San Bernadino et. al. from Hwy18

Testing blog function from new Android 5.0 Nextbook tablet.
Lost content twice now.
Testing link:  click here for facebook.

make that three times.  The app has a very bad means to attach photos that didn't work on my phone nor here and essentially messd up the post.  First the app couldn't find the picture for the upload and then when I tried to remove it the app crashed!

the link works but I have to type in the whole url which is a pain when it comes to linking to an album.  these issues were with my phone app, too, so google has really dropped the ball on this one.

But at least with the tablet I can us the browser interface which is how I make a post on the computer which is just impossible on the phone.  switching back and forth doesn't work either.

So stop testing here and just bail out on using it for editing.  Very dissapointed and finding some of the image function on the tablet through firefox may not work either.  But I'll give it a go.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Learning to use the app

Album testing how to make a link  the album. Click here


Second Attempt

I picked up a new phone so,  among other things, I can make blog posts from it.  It failed a few weeks ago.  Trying it again.  I was having some speaker problems with the phone so that kept me busy for a while too.

That works.
Posting a picture was the problem before.  Here goes an attempt at that.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Taking a Detour

The truck I drove the first month on the road.
So I started on-the-job training driving on Dec. 9th.  Since then I have crossed the country 7 times.  Generally the cargo is expedited freight,  going 300 or more miles, most of them over  1000.  Most of the time it is "drop and hook" which means we unhook from the trailer and pick up an empty one leaving the consignee to unload it at their leisure. 

In the driver's seat.
I completed a month of training and I will be going out another 2 weeks with another trainer.  I am staying in Cedar Rapids, near company headquarters while the company lines up a new trainer for me.  Hopefully I will be on the road again this week.  We are paid by the mile, not the hour.  Even after training the company has us drive in teams so one of us is driving while the other is sleeping.  This, however, is not conducive to making blog post.  I'll see what I can do along the way.

Early this January, I was drove all the way across Arizona and half way across New Mexico, driving east.  At sunset the moon rose and I was really enjoying cruising along in the moonlight with my CD's playing.  The road was clear but there was some snow on the desert so the moon lit up the landscape very nicely.  Click here for an album and I might keep adding to it since I can do that quickly on the road.